The impression is that Davido is a snub, a spoilt child who lays around with ladies and parties all the time. It was with this impression that Hazeez Balogun went to have a one on one interview session with him at a Hotel in Lekki where he is lodged. Davido turned out to be the opposite. He stepped out from the hall where he was having a rehearsal with his crew. His publicist said he had been practicing for hours. David Adedeji Adeleke turned out to be a disciplined, hardworking and respectful 19 years old artiste who is handling fame quite ordinarily. This interview was done a day before his O.B.O show last Sunday.
Tell us about your show
That will be my first show in Nigeria, in fact it is the first Davido show in the whole of Africa. I am trying to do a show like no other. There is going to be a lot of drama, and acting. It has a story line to it.
Before you released the song ‘Back when’, nobody knew who Davido was, but all of a sudden, within a year, Davido is the rave of the moment, where was Davido before?
I was in Atlanta in the United States all along. I was there in school for two year. But while I was in school I had a group there and we made a lot of music together. We were experimenting with a lot of sounds. It was recently I decided to come back to the country with my cousins and my label mates. And we decided to work on music in Nigeria. But it was a surprise that as soon as we started, people just accepted us immediately. I did not expect everything will happen this quick but I thank God. Now we are launching ourselves real big.
Most artistes that had stayed abroad find it hard to make the kind of music that Nigerians can feel, but you hit it spot on, any secret?
The thing is that I and my crew travel a lot. From America we go to Brazil, Spain and many other countries, but we always love to be back in Lagos. We feel at home in Nigeria, so we kind of know what the people want. I know good music so I don’t try to follow what anybody is doing. If you listen to ‘Back when’ you will know that that kind of sound have never been done before. And before you know it, everybody started copying the style. So I decided to change it for them. (mimicks the beat of Damiduro) that one shocked everyone. It’s just about making different type of music and making sure your music is accepted. When I listen to my song, I do not listen to it like someone who knows me or like me. I listen to it like someone who does not like me. That way I can be critical about my music. I take it very seriously. At the end of the day, I like my songs and everybody likes my songs.
You have three songs in the album as hits, what else should be expected from the full album?
I will not suggest any song to anybody. I want people to go and get the album and listen to it. Let them choose the one they prefer on their own. Everybody have different tastes. I have songs for people that go to church, I have songs for people that go to clubs, in it is songs for people that are sad and people who are happy. There is something for everybody.
The story is that you joined D’Banj’s record label. Then some say it’s not true. What is the real situation with you and D’Banj?
D’Banj is my big brother. I and D’banj have been cool for about four years now. He was one of the people that made me move back. He has been and always be my mentor. Being signed under his label is a different issue. I am not signed under his label at the moment. We are working together and he has business for me and we will see what the future holds. I really respect D’Banj.
You collaborated with Naeto C in ‘Back when’ how did you meet him?
Naeto C is my manager’s cousin. So he just set the whole thing up. We really blended well and we came out with my first major hit. We are all like a family.
Which other collaborations have you done?
I have been in the studio with a lot of international artistes. I have been with Akon, and the likes. We have something very big coming but really I do not like doing much collaborations. I like doing my own thing.
Shina Rambo is your cousin and your musical partner, are you comfortable with that name bearing in mind that the negative personality that bore such a name?
I did not know who Shina Rambo was. It was people that filled me in one the character that bore the name in the 90’s. I was and I am still fine with the name. It is a catchy name. Actually Adesina his name and all he did was to shorten it to Shina. Also the name Rambo is a name associated with strength and power. So as a whole I think the name is easily recognisable and blends well with the music scene.
Tell us about your crew
It consists of three young talented artistes who will take over the entertainment scene. It is me, Davido, B-Red and Shina Rambo. The crew featured in my O.B.O album and we are also doing our personal things too. We are called HNK. B-Red is the first artiste we will be promoting. He will be dropping his single very soon.
All of you are heavily tattooed all over your body, what is the attraction to tattoos?
I got the first tattoo in in the crew. All of our tattoos mean something to us. There are some with bible verses, there are some with wise words. We all also have HNK on our bodies. Everything has a meaning, but asides that, there is nothing more to it.
Davido is the artist to beat at the moment. How do you feel having all eyes on you?
Everything is faith. I cannot really explain how it happened. I don’t know how I blew so quickly. It is all by the grace of God. I am very thankful. I appreciate the fans, my family, God, and also the media for pushing me out there. All I can say is thank you. I did not plan all this, you cannot plan success, you can only hope and pray for it.
People say that now that Davido is now popular, he no longer caters for the street, that your fees are no longer affordable.
There was a point in time I was doing shows for N300,000, but if I was to set my fees so low now, there will not be time. I think I am still affordable to those that appreciate me.
At every point you refer to yourself as Omo baba olowo (son of a rich man), what is that all about?
My father is a successful man, he works very hard and he is one of my mentors. I wish I could be like him. I work very hard too and I am successful in my own line of work. So it shows that I have learnt a lot from him.
Did he support your career in anyway, because most African parents try to dissuade their children from music?
At first he did not support my plans to go into music. That is typical amongst parents. But when he saw that I was serious about music and I can make something out of music, he decided to lend his support. I thank God for him.
You also produce music.
Yes. Funny enough, I was first a producer before I was a musician. I had done works with Wizkid, D’Banj, Ice Prince, Flavour, even Akon. I am still a professional producer. I think that is one of the things that make my songs unique.
After the album launch what is next for Davido?
Ah, a lot is on the ground now. I have like eight tours lined up. I will be touring a lot of countries. We will be shooting videos, there are also new singles dropping. Trust me, we are very busy at the moment.
Your videos are usually very clean and conceptual, who shoots them for you?
We don’t really have one person shooting our videos. We use Clarence Peters and Antoine Smith from America most times.
How did Davido grow up?
I am the last child of five children. All my siblings went to school in the UK while I was schooling here in Nigeria with my father. I think it is the fact that I spent more time here in Nigeria that makes me understand the culture more and able to infuse it in my music. I was a naughty boy as a kid that is normal.
So how do you deal with ladies?
Woman are the most important people on earth because they produce. Without women we will not be here. So I make sure I treat women with respect.
Are you in any relationship at the moment?
No. I am very single.
And not searching?
(laughs)I am not Google